News ID: 8617
Publish Date: 27 June 2012 - 18:16
Amazon has been accused of making money selling offensive, racist and potentially dangerous ebooks on subjects ranging from bomb-making to drug growing.
The internet giant sells a vast number of ebooks, downloaded by readers from its website, some for as little as £1. It allows anyone to upload an ebook for sale, without safeguards against content that would be refused by traditional publishers.

Examples include anti-Semitic prose, instructions on growing marijuana, and novels which apparently glorify dog fighting. One ebook, offensive words against Prophet Muhammad (pbuh): includes images of a Koran being burned and a woman being hanged.

The author, Jake Neuman, says of its content on his own website: ‘The writings contained in this book are now illegal in most Western countries.’ But users of can access his work at the click of a mouse.

The Muslim Council of Britain has now called for Amazon to ‘take proper responsibility’ for the content of the books on its site. They added: ‘Freedom of expression should not be unlimited, and publications that cause anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Jewish hatred or homophobic hatred should not be allowed.’

Other titles included TNT FAQ and How to Make Nitroglycerin, which provided instructions for making explosives as well as ebooks which were simply made up of personal attacks on members of the public - thought to be by disgruntled ex-spouses or partners.

Any potential self-publisher can use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service to upload their ebook for sale, charging as little as 77p to potential readers. Amazon instructs self-publishers to adhere to ‘content guidelines’, stating, for example, that ‘we don’t accept pornography’.

But critics say the company does not go far enough.

Richard Mollet, chief executive of the Publishers Association, told the Sunday Times: ‘We see the same attitude from search engines - don’t blame us; we’re just putting it out there.’

He added ‘It’s time internet companies did start to take a better look at their practices and behaved more responsibly.’ Labour MP Paul Flynn said: ‘If Amazon is providing the platform for books that wouldn’t be published otherwise, it is responsible.

‘This is a cavalier attitude to inflammatory material.’ Those charging between 77p and £1.48 earn a 35 per cent royalty on each sale, with Amazon taking the rest, while authors charging £1.49 or more keep 70 per cent.

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